Thousands of people die every day and step into eternity, but where do they go?
And more personally, where will you go when your time is over? What is the truth of life after death, heaven and hell, eternal judgment, salvation, and damnation?
Some have wrongly taught that the dead sleep until a final Judgment day or that people are simply annihilated after being judged. But soul sleep is a false doctrine, and Annihilation is a false doctrine. Dont be deceived. There is right now already multitudes of people (Billions) burning in a very real Hell and the faithful rejoicing in a very real Heaven.
Confusion on these issues comes on a few points. We must understand that Man is a 3 fold being – spirit, soul and body (1Thes 5,23). When a person dies their body returns to dust, and their soul & spirit go to Heaven or Hell. They are an eternal spirit being, created in the image of God, they will forever exist.
The Bible says ‘It is appointed once for a man to die and then comes judgment’ (Heb 9,27). Notice is said `then comes`, not `much later comes`. Upon death the sinners’ soul & spirit go immediately to Hell and will be immediately in torment with unquenchable fire, eaten by worms that never die, demons tearing & tormenting them, reaping what has been sown, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth – things Jesus described of the horrors of Hell. Some have recently died and been in Hell for days or weeks, others have been down there for 40 years, 400 years, or thousands of years already in great agony and hopeless woe. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt 10,28) “And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers” (Matt 18,34)
All sinners (unsaved people) and disobedient Christians (disobedient, unrepentant, lukewarm or backslidden) will be there in Hell for at least another 1007+ years (time period covering the 7 year Great Tribulation and the 1000 year Millennium, plus whatever time we have left till the rapture) until when they are resurrected back into their body (Daniel 12,2) to stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment.
— Rev 14,10-11 “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
The true people of God (who are under the Lordship of Jesus Christ) who die now go to Heaven, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor5, Paul & Jesus at times used the word sleep for death and when the disciples didn’t understand Jesus told them plainly that he had died – its the body that sleeps in the dust but not the soul or spirit.
The true Christians will then go to the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive good or bad according to what they have done in the body, to receive reward or incur loss according to their works (2Cor 5,9-10 & Rev 22,12). Then they will go to participate in the glorious Wedding Supper of the Lamb, with the judgment seat and wedding supper covering a 7 year period.
7 years later they will return with Jesus riding white horses at the Second Coming of Christ as He comes in power and judgment, defeating the armies of the Beast, and the Antichrist and the false prophet. The saints of God will then play a big role in setting up and serving the Kingdom of God on Earth with Jesus reigning from Jerusalem during the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ. At the end of the 1000 years, the devil is released from the Abyss and stirs a rebellion which Jesus quickly defeats. This is a final test for those who were born during the 1000 years reign, some rebelled and perished, and others stay faithful.
After this is the Great White Throne Judgment and the resurrection of the damned (as described above, Rev 20). After that the people of God will live with God and He with his people in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth and go back and forth from Heaven also. We will spend eternity in loving and perfect fellowship with God and each other. Every tear will be wiped away, as we abide in His glorious perfection with joy unspeakable and full of glory.